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story sketch: unfolding wings [update: 04-15-2011]

This sketch is based on "unfolding wings," the first in a series of beautiful poems by [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith about the Origami Mage, an Eastern style hero from an asian inspired fantasy world. Please visit Penultimate Productions for more of the Origami Mage and her rival the Kirigami Mage (along with some other fantastic poetry series!)

cleaned-up sketch:
A young Origami Mage brings a paper crane to life

detail:
A young Origami Mage brings a paper crane to life

rough sketch:
A young Origami Mage brings a paper crane to life
This picture is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License, and may be freely used under the terms of that license with a link back to mikaspace.net Please see terms of use for details.
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Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments are welcome either here or there.

Comments

*grins* That absolutely fits with my mental image of that poem. Wonderful!
Thank you, it's a great poem, written in a way that makes it easy to form a mental image :)
Oh, beautiful!! I love her expression!

Yes...

I love that expression too. It just says "sense of wonder" all over.
Lovely work, but I have one bit of criticism to offer: to my eyes, at least, the close-up image on the right seems to depict an older, more mature individual than the child in the left-hand segment. Looking at the left-hand close up in isolation, I'd interpret that as being a drawing of a late teen or young adult rather than the "little girl" of the poem. Sorry that I'm not enough of an art critic to be able to clarify what precisely gives me that impression -- hope this is useful to you even without that detail.
It's because she has a 'narrow face with tilted eyes' and not the round face and large eyes that children are usually drawn with. If there's enough demand, I'll find some reference material, and see what I can do to make her look more childlike :)

Yes...

Now that it's pointed out, I can see that divergence. The proportions of facial features to overall face size are different in people of different ages -- and the ages scale slightly differently across the races because the features look different, too. And of course any face will be rounder in childhood than adulthood (which I should probably have mentioned in the description). I've seen some good artistic references about drawing children, but all of them used caucasian models.

I went looking for some good closeups of Asian girls. Interestingly, while the eye shape is visibly almond early on, the upward tilt of the corners seems more pronounced in older people than babies or young girls. In children, the corners seem to point more sideways than up. The shape can also make the eyes look a little smaller than rounded eyes would look. Anyhow, here are some images that I found:
http://aramiaincognito.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/rie-chan.jpg
http://www.wallcoo.net/photography/asian_children_photography/images/Cute_Asian_Children_photos_HU148_350A.jpg

Re: Yes...

Either way, this is *fantastic*.

Re: Yes...

Yay! I'm glad to hear that. meeksp is running this project on a creative commons basis, so if we want to use the illustration(s) later, that's negotiable. I already put a link to the sketch from my "Serial Poetry" page so it's in with the other Origami Mage stuff.

Re: Yes...

Perfect! We will definitely talk all together when it's time to do the book! YAY!

Re: Yes...

*happy dance*

As the series develops, I'm getting a better idea for what needs to happen in order to complete it, areas where the story arc is well filled-in and areas where more needs to be written. That also helps reveal what the major turning points are; those will be good spots for illustration.

In a Western-style story, the major points are often based on external action, whereas in an Eastern-style story they are often internal realizations. That can be challenging to illustrate -- which is why Eastern art has its own set of symbolism, useful for cluing the internal action. That's pretty cool to play with. When I'm writing the poems, I often look up references on symbolism so that the descriptions will highlight the internal action, if you know the connections. So I was really pleased to hear from an artist that this tends to create strong visual images in the poetry.

Re: Yes...

Well, it seems like enough people *are* interested in this pic, so I'll have a chance to work on it some more :)

SQUEE!!

*bounce bounce frisk caper grin* I am happy to hear that! I look forward to seeing the refinements. Also, angela_n_hunt likes it and she's the publisher interested in doing a hardcopy edition of the Origami Mage poems eventually. So there's some future potential open for discussion.

Re: SQUEE!!

I would love to contribute to an Origami Mage book :) Please let me know how this project develops!

Re: SQUEE!!

Yay! We will keep you posted. Meanwhile you might like to see what else angela_n_hunt has been working on. There's a main Hunt Press site and also huntpress here on LJ.

Upward tilt

I can say that, in the great majority of the Chinese faces I see everyday, the upward tilt is hardly noticeable, unless emphasized by makeup (or crow's feet).
I tend to associate a strong upward tilt with the 'new' D&D elves more than with Eastern Asian people ;-)

I love the wonder on her face, and the first part of the sketch too, although in my mind's eye the people in the poems aren't that strongly Japanese (that's a personal thing, though).

Re: Upward tilt

>> I can say that, in the great majority of the Chinese faces I see everyday, the upward tilt is hardly noticeable, unless emphasized by makeup (or crow's feet).
I tend to associate a strong upward tilt with the 'new' D&D elves more than with Eastern Asian people ;-) <<

When I really took a close look at the photos I was browsing, I noticed that there is a lot of variation. Some of it seems to be individual (I saw one baby picture that I swear looked elven) while some clusters along national/ethnic lines. So there's flexibility.

>> I love the wonder on her face, and the first part of the sketch too,<<

Yay!

>> although in my mind's eye the people in the poems aren't that strongly Japanese (that's a personal thing, though).<<

Actually, I used photos of Japanese people as inspiration for the Origami Mage and photos of Chinese people for the Kirigami Mage. I tend to tag off between those cultures as sources of inspiration, plus occasionally adding bits from Taiwanese, Korean, Tibetan, or other Asian cultures. Of the two, I have a closer connection to Japanese and you have a closer connection to Chinese so it should come close to balancing out, across the series. Ideally I want a fantasy culture and characters that are both unique and cohesive, Asian-inspired without seeming too close to any one source. But it's like making curry, you have to get the temperature right; too low and the flavors won't merge, too high and it cooks down to slush.
You did an awesome job making her childlike in the refined version. I love the chubby little-girl hands. :D
Oh, that is a wonderful moment! I really liked that poem, and it is so nice to see it brought to life so well. I particularly like the asian details in the clothing and the houses, and the mother's profile conveys visually the idea that her child has wandered off.
I like the composition here with the scene/detail contrast in the two panels. It makes me think of it as an excerpt from a larger manga-like treatment of the poems...

Ooo...

I had not thought of that with regards to this poem, although I have considered rendering other poems in graphic form. Come to think of it, wbm turned one of my poems into a graphic, "The Engineer in His Cups," which was awesome.

This would be one way to shift a poetic series toward chapbook length. I dunno what it would do to the price, though. Graphics in general, and color in particular, tends to run the price way up. We were thinking along the lines of a collectible art book, though, if it could be made to work.

Wow!

The updated sketch is terrific! She looks younger in the closeup now. The buildings framed up nicely too. Is that a tori gate in the background, on the left edge?

Re: Wow!

It's..not quite, but I guess it's torii-ish, with a roof that could just as easily be chinese.
The refined sketch is lovely, great job!
Wow, the refined sketch is lovely. The look of wonder on her face is just perfect.
Wow! I'm grateful to everyone who's posted on this thread for making the sketch upgrade possible -- the cleaned-up sketch is a vast improvement over the original. The added architectural detail creates a much stronger sense of 'place' to the drawing, but what I find most impressive is that you were able to keep that same degree of wonder in her expression while taking years off of her face. I think you'd be an excellent choice of artist for the book, if/when that comes together; good luck!
Ooh, I love the cleaned-up sketch, but I think you have a great style in general. Looking at your art makes me smile! I hope we eventually get to see an Origami Mage book with your illustrations.